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“How can a book so old possibly be relevant to my life today?”  On the surface, this objection to the Bible sounds credible.  After all, many books that were written earlier in my own life, say 50 years ago, no longer apply to our present cultural situation or are just factually inaccurate.  “So,” the skeptic asks, “why should I pay attention to a dusty collection of books from ancient history?” 

The great dividing line between the outdated works of academia and the Bible is summarized in one word:  inspiration. When people object to Scripture on the basis of obsolescence or irrelevance, they believe that Scripture is of human origin only.  And if that is true, their position is common sense.

I tend to sympathize with the person who has not seriously considered this issue, for I myself dismiss other religious writings such as Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon or Islam’s Koran as inventions of men.  Why should one believe that the 66 books of the Bible are inspired of God?  Isn’t that just the blind belief of Christian partisans?

The answer to these questions is both academic and attitudinal, for if one is already convinced that Scripture is of divine origin, no amount of evidence will convince them.  The human mind has a strong capacity to reject things that are not desirable or at odds with an existing worldview.  However, if one objectively weighs the evidence, the scales tip in favor of the Bible having a divine origin.  Here are just a few items to consider:

The prophetic witness is one of the strongest evidences of the divine origin of Scripture.  This is a huge subject, so we only offer a broad overview here.  It is axiomatic that humans are poor prognosticators:  weather, horoscopes, elections, romances, sporting events and financial markets to name a few.  But throughout the redemptive story of the Bible, spanning over two millennia of battles, regime changes, natural catastrophes, human foibles, outright hostility to the unfolding plan of God, Scripture extensively foretells both the general course and specific elements through various writers and speakers.  There is no set formula to these prophecies:  they are varied – short-/medium-/long-term; they buck trends; they name names; they predict unlikely or – from a human standpoint – impossible outcomes.

The skeptic might counter:  “Well, Nostradamus made predictions in the 16th century, and besides that who’s to say the writings of the Bible weren’t composed after the events they supposedly foretold?”  No doubt there are astute men who study their environment, political movements, history, human behavior, etc. and venture to make (usually vague) guesses as to the direction of future events.  But one significant difference lies in the fact that Bible prophecies are periodically issued over millennia of time, and they all pertain to a unified, coherent storyline that unfolds among the histories and fates of several nations – chief among them being the nation of Israel.

As to these writings being after the fact, the meticulousness of the Israelites in compiling, copying and recording their historical books invalidates this contention.  If true, and the Bible records are fraudulent, it would be too easy to document and expose a hoax perpetrated over eons of time.

Most critically, many Bible prophecies anticipate a specific terminus:  the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  There is simply no way to fake this as many of the prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus’ enemies, not Himself or his allies.  Things happen out of his (human) control:  His manner of death (no broken bones, though stoning was the method of Jewish execution); His executioners gambling for His clothes as He was impaled and helpless; heartless taunts and ridicule hurled at Him as He died; being executed with others (and criminals at that); etc.  Such things do not fit a human paradigm; they are not the sort of things that can be foreseen and engineered – especially when centuries separate the prophecy from the fulfillment.   

The factual information in the Bible – people, places, events, etc. – is substantiated by archaeology, literature and history.  Now, this might seem insignificant, but remember that the Bible was written over an extremely long span of time, by different authors, in different eras, in different countries – even in different languages.  But not only do they all add vital elements to the overall storyline, they accurately document the particulars of their own time.  The Bible has been repeatedly attacked when some detail has not yet been corroborated by archaeology – only to have later excavations verify the Biblical account.  Keep in mind that only a minimal portion of earlier civilization has been discovered, but what has been found harmonizes with the Bible record. 

This one fact is astounding, considering that current events are wrongly reported in various media.  Further, Bible events were recorded by those who were either present or well-informed, or both.  Such exactitude points away from a purely human origin of Scripture.

The clarity and consistency of subject matter dealt with in Scripture supports super-human authorship.  This does not mean that the Bible advocates the same law-system throughout, for the Law of Moses which governed the Israelite nation is clearly distinguished from the new universal law which Jesus inaugurated.  Though this is a basic difference clearly delineated in Scripture, indiscriminate readers confuse the two and either cherry pick between the laws or claim the Bible contradicts itself (“So, I guess you believe in stoning adulterers today, huh?!”).  Such a question is an unflattering commentary on the querist.

The point is that when it comes to standards for things like sexual purity, lifelong marriage, raising children, forgiving injuries, serving others, telling the truth, church leadership, standards of worship, avoiding temptations, offering prayer, objective truth, facing death and a host of other moral and religious controversies, the Bible upholds what promotes physical, psychological, relational and spiritual health.  By contrast, the world’s medical, psychological and ethical advisors are unable to provide consistent guidance that promotes the welfare of all men everywhere. 

These and other details highlight the inspiration of Scripture.  God’s insights undergird the accuracy and perfection of His revelation.  These are not merely the words of men; they are windows into the mind of God, Himself, and as such deserve our most careful consideration.